Michelle Cretella Bailey: Michelle Cretella Bailey, Co-Artistic Director of Back Stage Dance Center LLC, has her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and possesses a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Quinnipiac College.

Michelle is proud to have been trained at The Dancer’s Studio, North Haven, beginning at the age three.  She studied Tap, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, and Hip Hop. She is a Master Teacher and continues to judge competitions and auditions throughout the United States and Canada.

Michelle is USGA safety certified in acrobatic instruction and is a nationally certified member & examiner of Dance Masters of America (DMA). Michelle is extremely active in the dance community and is a past President of DMA Chapter 18, CT. She graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo through the Dance Masters of America Teacher’s Training School Program.

Michelle believes strongly in professionals continuing their education; she attends classes at Broadway Dance Center, DMA masters classes and attends the Dance Masters of America national convention annually.

In addition, Michelle is a certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor at Shoreline Fitness.


Stacey Nagel Lankarge: Stacey Nagel Lankarge, Co-Artistic Director of Back Stage Dance Center LLC, began dancing when she was eight at Dawn Michaele’s School of Dance in North Branford. She studied Tap, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, and Modern dance. She won several awards in regional and national competitions.

To further her knowledge she attended classes at the New Haven Ballet in Madison.

Throughout high school, Stacey participated in the Educational Center for the Arts program. This program allows students to attend concentrated high school courses in the morning and artistic courses in the afternoon. While attending Quinnipiac College, she choreographed for and performed with their Dance Company.

Stacey is certified by Test to Teach through Dance Masters of America Chapters 26 & 18. Currently, she attends classes at Broadway Dance Center, NY & through Dance Masters of America Master Classes. When Stacey is not teaching, she is a Registered Nurse at Connecticut Valley Hospital.


Caity Steele: Caity Steele received her training in a variety of styles at The Dancer’s Studio in Northford, CT – including tap, jazz and ballet. As a part of their competitive team, she gained regional, national, and international recognition.

Caity attended Eastern Connecticut State University where she was a student coach of their nationally ranked Dance Team. She participated in the university’s Dance Ensemble where she performed and presented choreography for the American Collegiate Dance Festival along with other regional venues.

Caity received her certification to teach from Dance Masters of America , Chapter 18 and has since traveled to teach masters classes, and judge scholarships and classes.

Caity is most proud to have been made a Board Member of Kids for Kids, Dancing for Life Inc. in which she has been involved since it began.


Kristen Carpentier: Kristen Carpentier began dancing at the age of four. In 2000, she began studying at Backstage Dance Center. As a student, she demonstrated outstanding leadership skills and was asked to be an assistant teacher. Kristen has always had a natural gift for working with young children, and received her certification to teach from Dance Masters of America, Chapter 18 in 2007. When she is not teaching she serves at the studio’s Office Manager. Kristen has an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Middlesex Community College, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Southern Connecticut State University. When she is not at the studio she works in the Young Adult department at Brainerd Memorial Library in Haddam, CT.

Kimberly Spanier: Kimberly Spanier began her classical ballet training under the direction of Joyce Karpiej, former director of the Hartford Ballet School. She also spent summers studying at the Boston Ballet.  Kim continued her training and joined the Company of Connecticut Concert Ballet where she danced lead roles in productions of The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Balanchine’s Apollo, Cinderella and Snow White.  Kim now lives in North Branford with her husband Jay, and daughters Sofia and Ellie.

Luke Burmingham: Luke Burmingham was born and raised in East Granby, CT studying dance in his early years under the direction of Brenda Barna in Southwick, MA. Upon graduating magna cum laude from the Hartt School, under the direction of Stephen Pier, Luke had the privilege of performing classical works by choreographers such as Jose Limon, Martha Graham, and Marius Petipa. He also performed contemporary works by Emery Lecrone, Greg Dolbashian, Simone Orlando, and Pascal Rioult. His professional credits include dancing for CT based company DancEnlight, The Muny’s production of the King & I, Antonio Brown Dance, Project 44, MadBoots Dance Co., and Abarukas, and Yin Yue Dance Company. Luke currently teaches dance at a Magnet Public School in Hartford, CT and other various dance studios around the state.

Sandy Taddei Nye: Sandy Taddei Nye has been dancing since she can remember and teaching her own classes since the age of 16. She has studied under Rita Whitney, Charles Kelly, June Taylor and Dick Farnsworth all of New York, Linda Juliano of East Haven, and the New Haven Ballet. She has been awarded many honors including Top Scoring Groups, solos and Duo’s, and National Choreography awards. Sandy is a certified member of Dance Masters of America. A past “Miss East Haven,” Sandy continues to sing and dance whenever she can.

Barbara-Ruth Hickey, began dancing when she was 5 years old at Backstage Dance Center. She then danced competitively for 12 years and received awards and recognitions in a variety of dance styles. Ms. Barbara-Ruth has also been cast in Mother Ginger, Cinderella, and was an understudy in the Four Swans. She has since then preformed on a dance team in college and received her Bachelors and Masters in Social Work. She received her certification to teach from Dance Masters of America, Chapter 18.

Tovah Vincent, was a competitive gymnast for 10 years and has 20 years of coaching experience at various levels. She is safety certified through USAG. Tovah coached Darien high school gymnastics team for six years where she coached her team to 2 conference championships and to state championships. She was awarded coach FCIAC & State High School coach of the year.  Tovah also coached high school volleyball for four years in Darien and for four years at the Morgan school. She was a physical education and health teacher for seven years until she became a stay-at-home mom for the past several years with her three children.